I saw in the night visions
Very probably the same night in which he had the dream and vision of the four beasts; but this that follows, being a new object presented, is introduced and prefaced after this manner; as well as, being something wonderful and worthy of attention, has a "behold" prefixed to it: and, behold one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven;
not Judas Maccabaeus, as Porphyry; nor the Roman people, as Grotius; nor the people of Israel, as Aben Ezra; nor the people of the saints of the most High, as Cocceius; but the Messiah, as most Christian interpreters, and even the Jews themselves, both ancient and modern, allow. In the ancient book of Zohar F21 it is said,
``in the times of the Messiah, Israel shall be one people, to the Lord, and he shall make them one nation in the earth, and they shall rule above and below; as it is written, "behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven"; this is the King Messiah of whom it is written, "and in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven, set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed" ( Daniel 2:44 ) ''So in the Talmud F23 this prophecy is thus reconciled with another, concerning the Messiah, in ( Zechariah 9:9 ) , to what R. Alexander said, R. Joshua ben Levi objects what is written, and, behold, one like to the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven;
and it is written, "poor, and riding upon an ass": which is thus adjusted,
``if they (the Israelites) are worthy, he (the Messiah) comes with the clouds of heaven; but if they are not worthy, he comes poor, and riding on an ass;''and so it is interpreted in their ancient Midrashes F24, or expositions, as well us in more modern ones: Jarchi on the text says,
``he is the Messiah;''and so R. Saadiah Gaon and Jacchiades, this is Messiah our righteousness; and Aben Ezra observes, that this is the sense R. Jeshua gives, "that one like to the Son of man" is the Messiah; and he adds, it is right, only along with him must be joined the holy people, who are the Israelites: and, with the Jews, Anani, which signifies "clouds", is the name of the Messiah, founded upon this text, in the Targum of ( 1 Chronicles 3:24 ) , where mention is made of the name of a person, Anani, it is added,
``who is the Messiah that is to be revealed;''so in an ancient book called Tanchuma F25, speaking of Zerubbabel, it is asked, from whence did he spring? it is answered from David, as it is said, ( 1 Chronicles 3:10 ) "and Solomon's son was Rehoboam"; and so all in the line are mentioned unto Anani, ( Daniel 7:24 ) and then it is asked, who is this Anani? this is the Messiah, as it is said, ( Daniel 7:13 ) : and I saw in the visions of the night, and, behold, one like to the Son
of man came with the clouds of heaven.
He is said to be "as", or "like the Son of man", in agreement with the style of these visions, ( Daniel 7:4-6 ) , or because as yet he was not really incarnate, only appeared in a human form; or this as is not a note of similitude, but of truth and reality, as in ( John 1:14 ) ( Matthew 14:5 ) ( Philippians 2:7 Philippians 2:8 ) or because he was more than a man: and his coming with the clouds of heaven denotes the majesty, visibility, and swiftness, with which he came to take open possession of his kingdom and glory. Saadiah interprets them of the angels of heaven, with which he will be attended: and came to the Ancient of days;
his divine Father, from whom, as man and Mediator, he receives his mediatorial kingdom, is invested with it, and insisted it, to it; see ( Revelation 5:7 ) this is not to be understood of his first coming in the flesh, which was from his Father, and not to him; nor of his ascension to heaven, exaltation and session at the right hand of God, when he indeed received the kingdom from the Father, and was made and declared Lord and Christ; but this seems to respect what shall be upon the destruction of the fourth beast, when Christ shall receive and take to himself his great power, and reign, and more visibly appear by his Father's designation and appointment, and his open glory, to be King and Lord over all: and they brought him near before him;
not Elijah the prophet, as Jacchindes; rather the angels, as others; or the saints by their prayers, who hasten to, and hasten thereby, the coming and kingdom of Christ in a more spiritual and glorious manner; or it may be rendered impersonally,
``he was brought near before him,''as by the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions.
F21 In Gen. fol. 85. 4. Ed. Sultzbac.
F23 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 1.
F24 Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 13. fol. 209. 4. Midrash Tillium apud Galatin. de Arcan. Cathol. ver. l. 10. c. 1.
F25 Apud Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 85. 2.